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Thread: Rebuilding the Q-ship; a 1964 Harley Davidson Sportster

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Northern Colorado
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    837

    Default

    A large pump, obviously...
    VPH-D

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    98

    Default Q-ship Part 4 -- bringing home a basket case

    Last Thursday, my partner in crime crated up the 64CH basket case and took it to the local Land Air Express office in Denver for shipping to Chicago. For those of you who haven't done a dock to dock shipment; we'll go over the steps here -- as well as how I go about inventorying a basket case.

    First thing to keep in mind is that dock to dock shipping is surprisingly affordable. What it isn't is internet friendly. Trying to find out what you want to know about freight shipping is nowhere near as easy for things like FedEx or UPS. In reality, you'll want to go and speak with someone face to face if this is your first rodeo. Don't be worried about it -- once the people realize you're a newbie, they will help.

    So, let's get started.

    It was a beautiful Saturday morning and so I rang up my buddy the Goldwing Killer to see if he wanted to go for a drive. He did, so I wasn't totally bored. We got the trailer hitched up to the beater Jag and off we go.

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    With that done, we headed up to O'Hare to the Land Air Express depot in Elk Grove Village

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    You know you're in the right spot when you see all the trailers

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    Simply go in the doors marked "drivers" and provide the clerk with your shipping bill # and an id. They will then get you ready to go and direct you to the right shipping dock for pick up.

    We rolled on over to mystical "door 8" and proceeded to wait about 40 minutes.

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    We got to enjoy our coffee and watch a couple of dozen planes land . . . so not an entirely wasted 40 minutes.

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  3. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    98

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    Forklift driver wasn't super cooperative and kind of in a hurry -- so they did not load the trailer correctly with the weight forward of the axles. But, we decided to live life on the edge. Made it home safe so let's call it a good gamble. Normally, 500 pounds of parts on the end of a trailer is not a good idea.

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    Now that we got the crate back to the shop; it's time to start sorting things out. I like to start by clearing a big space so I can lay all the parts out from front to back and take inventory.

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    I also dedicate a notebook to each new basket case. It helps keep me organized and to remember things. Don't trust your memory ... photos and notes are a must when dealing with a basket -- along with a big stock of zip lock bags and sharpies.

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    Once we get the plastic wrap off the box we are met by a sea of cardboard . . .

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    And, underneath all the layers are parts! In this case, the motor is mounted to the frame, which is strapped to the pallet. A very efficient way to ship a basket case.

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  4. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    98

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    So, we got everything out of the crate and on the floor.

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    I placed all the hardware and loose bits in marked, ziplock bags and then into new boxes for storage. Believe it or not; this lot of parts represents about 70-75% of a 1964CH. What's missing are things like the front end. But, I'll be picking up one of those at the Davenport meet from another sportster nut. Most everything else I either have as NOS parts in my own stash or as good used stuff on the shelf. We'll have to hunt very few parts for this one.

    What really makes it a good deal is that there are many extras. For example, there are two full sets an Andrews transmission gears and shafts, two sets of vintage and almost unblemished Sifton stroker cams, etc. etc. And, there are plenty of extras to trade for other parts . . .

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    98

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    Now for more fun. The engine cases are to be bored by Dr. Dick to accept Dytch big bore cylinders. Because I'll see the good doctor at Davenport, I decided to get the cases stripped and cleaned.

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    Everything came down easily -- save three of the lifter blocks which refused to budge. The puller broke the ears on three out of four blocks -- so I wound up gently tapping them out from the inside with a long aluminum dowel. Thankfully, we had replacements readily available. As a plus; the lifters were vintage siftons -- big axle and light weight. It gets better and better the more I look at the "crusty" parts.

    So, I spent Sunday morning scrubbing the cases in mineral spirits, removing the needle bearings, and then putting the cases through the dishwasher, twice. As a general rule, all machinists greatly prefer it if you give them clean parts. Dr. Dick is no exception.

    Of course, we got more than we bargained for and even an extra stroker crank made its way into the crate -- all nicely wrapped up and oiled for storage until we put it in another bike.

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    Not bad for $1500

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    98

    Default And, here's why I wanted this one . . .

    One of the things you hear all the time is about "matching numbers." Well, what does that mean?

    If all goes according to plan with an old ironhead, it means the VIN is kosher, the belly numbers match, and the frame is of the correct style and date code.

    On the Q ship; all three are there. Here's what stuff looks like.

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    This is the VIN pad. It's clean, unaltered, and matches the Title (yippee!).

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    Here, I have inverted the motor and we are staring at the bottom of the crank case. On both sides of the case is a stamped number which I've highlighted with a sharpie. These are "belly numbers" of fame and infamy. In theory, they should match . . . though replacement cases are not uncommon for many reasons. In this case, they do match.

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    Here's what we are staring at: the "7" = sportster and the "64" = 1964 with the last 4 numbers representing these were the X set of cases machined that year. In most cases, the "year" will be the same as or one year prior to the model year on the VIN. This is one of the ways you can sort out good from bad VINs. In this instance, everything is on the up and up. We have a good VIN, good belly numbers, a clean title, and cases without cracks, or repairs. The only oddness is that someone started to polish the left case and gave up about 1/3rd of the way in. Believe it or not; we can restore that finish. We'll go over that in future "episodes".

    Now for the finale -- it's great to have a 1964 motor and title . . . but what about the frame?

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    On the right hand side of ironhead sportster frames is a date code. It is stamped just below the seat ears and is often ground off when someone removed the seat ears (argh!). I used a sharpie to make this one stand out for the pictures. You can see it is marked "D4." The D = April and the 4 = 1964. Notice, however, that there is a 1965CH style regulator mount just behind the seat post. Turns out HD started getting ready for '65 a bit early and several 1964 frames show this feature . . . starting in April 1964. Similarly, this is a CH frame -- meaning there are no kidney oil tank mounts on the right rear down tube and no coil mounts on the left rear down tube. The gas tank mounts are sleeved and not just drilled, etc. All in all, this is a seriously straight and non-molested frame.

    To recap, we have a relatively high VIN, matched by relatively high 1964 dated cases, and a spring '64 frame. All this points to a bike assembled in the second half of the 1964 model year. So, now we know what we are playing with.

    As a word to the wise, I insured the lot almost immediately with Hagerty. Remember, they will insure basket cases. You just have to send photos and set a realistic price.

    We head to Davenport next week to pick up the front end for the Q ship; track down a few parts; and drop off the cases for boring. It will be a great meet and lots of fun! Hope to see some of you there.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Chicago
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    98

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    The Q ship Saga Part 4 -- Parts Evaluation

    One of the biggest challenges with a basket case is curbing our enthusiasm. Part of the reason there are so many basket cases available is because people either bit off more than could chew or failed to plan out the project – and often both.

    Before we go much further, we need to take stock of the parts we have to determine what we’ll keep, what we may trade, and what will just become wall decorations. Don’t blindly assume that because a part came from a known associate that it is a “good” part or ready to go. Check everything over and be honest with what can be salvaged and what needs replacement based on your skill level and wallet. Keep in mind any short cuts you take may wind up costing you more in the end.

    Chuck’s normal order of attack on a basket case is to complete the chassis, then the power train, and finally the body work. The reason for tackling the project in this order is many fold. Generally, it takes much longer to assemble a full chassis than it does to build a motor. Similarly, you may have to send things for paint/powder coating, plating, or other specialty services. Starting with the chassis means you can have things out to specialists and use the downtime to work on the motor and transmission. We’ve found this helps keep the project moving and prevents you from going too nuts wondering why the 12 week lead time from the platers has stretched to 16 weeks.

    With all this in mind, Chuck started working his way through the parts. The frame is in fantastic condition and only need refinishing.

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    Even the neck cups are nice and tight on frame. The seat posts are in good condition and no tabs are missing or damaged on the frame.

    The swing arm, however, is for a later bike and is one inch too long for the Q ship. We will need to source a new one, along with a shorter brake linkage to fit.

    Really, the only challenge provided by the chassis is the front suspension. We knew this going into the project and so Chuck had already asked a fellow sportster enthusiast to put together a correct front end for a 1964, which we picked up at the Davenport meet. Handlebars, mirrors, and switch gear are all things we have on the shelf. We also have to decide on rear shocks – original equipment or aftermarket. We will see what comes our way over the next month or two. Finally, we have to find a good original side stand.

    The body work is minimal and largely limited to surface rust removal. Fuel tank and front fender are as new, though both are reproductions and will need some massaging to fit correctly. The rear fender requires the most massaging – though it is also easy to source a better fender or even a brand new reproduction. We will need to source a correct tail lamp and license tag holder, as well as fender struts.

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Chicago
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    Wheels and brakes are another story. The rear hub is lovely and shows no evidence of being worked on by a ham-fisted mechanic. The spokes and nipples are in good shape – but the rim is shot. We can reuse the spokes by either cleaning them up or having them replated. The hub likely needs only a repaint and the bearings cleaned/packed. The rear drum is in great shape, but it will need a new sprocket.

    The front hub is missing its internals and so those will be all new. We also will need to source a new backing plate as the one that came with the bike is for a 1952-1963 “half” drum brake and not the correct full width hub. Spokes, nipples, and the rim are in fair shape. We will likely replace them with new components instead of replating. We will have to strip the crusty chrome off the front hub – but that isn’t as difficult as it sounds.

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  9. #19
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    Jun 2018
    Location
    Chicago
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    Moving onto the power train – we hit the lottery on the transmission. Everything is in very good order and we have two complete sets of Andrews gears to work with as well as Andrews main and counter shafts. We also have our choice of stock or Trock trap doors. Basically, our expenditures will be limited to some shims, washers, and needle bearings. It doesn’t get much better than that.

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  10. #20
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    Chicago
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    The motor is also very solid. Upon tear down no glaring issues were found. The motor has been bored to .020 over in the past. The pistons are nearly new and the bores are very clean. A simple hone and rering would sort them.

    Similarly, the heads are in excellent condition and a light valve job would see them well. The main bearings are also in good shape and we’d expect the rod bearings to also be in good condition. The only glaring “problem” is the replacement timing cover. Mechanically it is fine, but cosmetically it’s terrible. Someone had it chromed and 50 years later that chrome is trying to come off. We will send the cover to be stripped and replace all the bushes when it gets back.

    In sum, if we were building a stock motor we’d be really happy with this motor as a foundation. Total expenditures appear to be limited to gaskets, piston rings, and perhaps new rod bearings. Otherwise, a good cleaning and careful assembly would see this motor last a long time on the street.

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